Staff member at Riverhead Middle School tests positive for COVID-19

Twenty-nine students at Riverhead Middle School may have to quarantine after coming in contact with an instructional staff member who has tested positive for COVID-19, district officials announced Monday evening.

In a letter to families, interim superintendent Christine Tona said the district was notified about the positive case earlier by the Suffolk County Department of Health.

The staff member must now quarantine under health department guidelines and will not return to work in person until they are cleared by county health officials, Ms. Tona said.

The guidance was unclear about whether the 29 students who were in contact with the staff member must also quarantine for 14 days.

Out of an abundance of caution, middle school principal Dr. Stephen Hudson is requiring those students to stay home from school Tuesday and Wednesday, participating in remote learning while officials discuss their next steps.

County health department officials are expected to meet Tuesday and if they determine that a quarantine isn’t needed, the 29 students will be permitted to return to school Wednesday.

“We are closely monitoring this situation and will provide you with updates as we learn more. As always, the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff is our priority,” Ms. Tona said.

This is the third positive case reported among an employee or student in the Riverhead district, which resumed in-person and hybrid instruction on Sept. 3.

Two days into the school year, a pair of siblings who attend Aquebogue Elementary School tested positive and were sent into a 14-day quarantine along with their teachers and classmates in their cohort.

Portions of the school building where those students worked were also temporarily closed.

Ms. Tona’s letter Monday did not specify if any areas of the middle school building would be closed as a result of the new positive case.

Suffolk County reported 48 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, bringing the countywide total to 46,109. The infection rate remains at around 0.9%, according to health department officials.